By Brady Henderson
Arguably no player on Seattle's roster has a bigger opportunity ahead of him in 2014 than Greg Scruggs, who after missing last year returns to a defensive line that experienced more turnover than any position group on the Seahawks.
Greg Scruggs played both inside and outside as a rookie in 2012 and says he's prepared to do the same in 2014. (AP)
"I don't know," Scruggs said when asked where he fits into Seattle's defense. "I don't know. I'm a floater. I was a floater my rookie year, I intended on being a floater last year, so I think it's wherever they can put me. I'm athletic enough to play every position. And that's not me tooting my horn, that's just – the proof is in the pudding. So wherever they need me."
Scruggs, a seventh-round pick in 2012, played both inside and outside during a rookie season in which he showed enough promise to merit some consideration for a starting role in 2013. But those hopes ended when he tore the ACL in his right knee during offseason workouts, causing him to miss the entire season following reconstructive surgery.
A year later, he's not only recovered from that injury but he's bulked up to 310 pounds, a significant increase from his previous listed weight of 284. That has led to some speculation that Scruggs could slide into the 5-technique defensive-end spot that was manned the past four seasons by Red Bryant, who was released this offseason.
The other opening along Seattle's defensive line is the Leo-end position that was vacated when Chris Clemons was released. Seattle will return both starting defensive tackles from last season – Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel – but for Scruggs, a starting role isn't necessarily the only potential path to playing time. Michael Bennett and Clinton McDonald proved as much last season. Neither was a starter in the Seahawks' base defense, but both saw enough action as part of a deep defensive-line rotation to earn eight-figure contracts as free agents – Bennett with Seattle and McDonald with Tampa Bay.
So while Scruggs has a shot to be a significant part of Seattle's defensive-line rotation next season, it might not be at just one position. In fact, the Leo-end spot was the only one he didn't mention while running through the possibilities.
"It might be a case where Mebane is tired, somebody was injured that week, they say, 'Scruggs, we need you at nose.' Well, I'm 310, so it's not a problem for me to go in and play nose. It's all technique and I've got a little bit of oomph behind me," he said. "If it's defensive end where Big Red was, OK, I'll go play D-end. If it's 3-technique because Tony needs a breather, I'll go in at 3.
"So I don't know. I've just been training to be kind of a jack of all trades."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.